Writing in salt

Adding a salt tray or salt box to your classroom is a wonderful way to promote pre-writing skills and I have been exploring different possible ways to keep the salt trays interesting and engaging for the children in my classroom but yet still keep the children primarily focused on the writing process…

I have written about the use of a salt tray before in the post titled, “Printing in the Salt Tray in PreK.” After writing that post, I received an email and photo from Nancy Ernest, one of my readers, that said…

Nancy’s Salt Tray

“We use a salt tray in our classroom and encourage them to use just their fingers in the tray (vs sensory table when it has sand which is whole hand). Our salt tray has only about 1/3 cup of salt in it so that they get a visual of what they “write” in the tray. Having a dark color on the bottom of the container is valuable. Dark colored cake pans or cookie sheets work fine. And yes it does take some self control for them not to put their whole hand in. It happens but they gradually work towards appropriate use.”

In an effort to apply Nancy’s advice and to make the process interesting for my students, I changed up the process for my pre-k students and they really enjoyed the change….

The first thing the children do when they come to the table is choose a color of construction paper for use on the bottom of their tray…

Next, the children pour one scoop of salt on their piece of construction paper…

Then the children either use their hand to spread the salt out just a bit or they lightly shake the tray to spread the salt out on their paper…

Then the children use their writing tool (we used stiff paint brushes) to write with in the salt…

In between each writing process, the children can flatten or shake the salt again and then start writing again…

If the children wish to change the color of paper they are writing on, they simply pour the salt back into the salt box, select a new color of paper, place a new scoop of salt back on the paper and start again…

I found that by using only one scoop of salt on the paper, the children were better able to see their marks in the salt….

By adding the process of selecting their own color; scooping and spreading the salt; then sifting the salt back into the salt box when finished, the children stayed more engaged and interested in the overall process of writing in the salt tray…

Books from Amazon 

Links to Grow On…

Sensory: Salt Trays, Stencils, and Salt Art from Creativity My Passion

Salt and Watercolor Painting from An Indiana Mom!

How to Teach Your Child to Write Their Name using a Salt Sensory Tray from Creative with Kids

Rainbow Salt : Inspiration Surrounds Creativity Abounds

By |2012-03-16T11:53:08+00:00March 16th, 2012|

About the Author:

Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. has been working and teaching in the field of early childhood education for over 30 years. Deborah currently owns and teaches in her own part-time, private preschool called The Children’s Studio. Deborah’s deep passion for teaching and working with young children is documented and then graciously shared with millions of readers around the world through her blog and other social networking communities. Deborah believes that young children learn best through play and exploration and embraces this belief in all that she does in her own classroom so that she can effectively and passionately share rewarding, real- life, tried-and-true practices with other teachers, parents, and leaders across the field of early childhood education.


  1. S.O.S. Mom March 16, 2012 at 12:17 pm - Reply

    What a WONDERFUL idea!!!! very very neat… keep those great ideas coming! 🙂

  2. Esther March 16, 2012 at 3:04 pm - Reply

    I like the usage of construction paper! one scoop of salt and write is good, less salt usage. Flipping background colors is also fun!
    Deborah, Thanks for linking our Salt art post!

  3. anna May 21, 2012 at 10:14 am - Reply

    love this idea, can’t wait to try it with my kids

  4. Melissa June 11, 2012 at 7:56 pm - Reply

    Hi there!
    Love this idea. I set out some salt for my 3 year old and we had a grand old time. I shared our experience here: http://tinkerbean.tumblr.com/post/24884204938/salt-writing

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. June 11, 2012 at 9:56 pm - Reply

      I love how you worked together Melissa! Thanks for stopping by and sharing:)

  5. […] got this idea from teachpreschool. Check it out for detailed description […]

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